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“The support of the European Union and other partners is crucial for UNICEF to continue to help the 11 million children in urgent need of assistance and allow humanitarian deliveries to children and families in need wherever they are in Yemen,” highlighted Sara Beysolow Nyanti, UNICEF Representative in Yemen.
Over 2 million children are suffering from acute malnutrition in Yemen, including 360,000 from severe acute malnutrition. This life-threatening situation is exacerbated by the lack of access to clean water and lack of proper sanitation and hygiene services, which also contributes to the rapid progression of epidemic diseases, such as cholera. Still this year, over 16 million people will need urgent WASH assistance in Yemen.
“Millions of Yemenis, and children in particular, are suffering from the terrible consequences of the armed conflict, but also of water borne diseases, including cholera,” said Christos Stylianides, the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management. “In this context, the EU will continue to support UNICEF and its partners to help the most vulnerable and to reduce the risk posed by cholera and other epidemics in Yemen.” UNICEF, with the support of its partners, is pursuing its water, sanitation and hygiene strategy integrated with nutrition and food security in order to target these immediate needs while also working to strengthen long-term resilience of communities.
The EU’s humanitarian contribution will benefit 450,000 people in high-risk areas for water-related diseases and food insecurity, including 270,000 children. The first project aims to improve access to nutrition services for girls and boys under the age of 5 and provide safe water for them and their families.
The second project focus on reducing the risk posed by cholera and acute watery diarrhea and tackling longer term risks related to poor governance of water and sanitation systems at community level. It will also seek at putting in place disaster reduction measures as part of its WASH humanitarian response in Yemen.
The 8-million nutrition intervention will target more than 50,000 children under the age of 5 suffering from severe acute malnutrition, as part of a multi-donor action, and will be delivered by several platforms, including health facilities and mobile teams in locations where there are no functional health facilities and with a high number of displaced families.
The project will also support in-patient care for malnourished children, capacity development of health workers and community health volunteers, rehabilitation of WASH infrastructure in 11 health facilities and other WASH emergency activities.
In the next 2 years, the disaster risk reduction project expects to reach 100,000 people, or around 14,286 households, by improving the "risk proofing" of WASH systems that will help mitigate the impact of natural disasters in priority districts and protect the populations against possible natural disasters, which Yemen is prone to.
UNICEF will support key activities such as strengthening water and sanitation systems, establishment of sustainable water management committees, hygiene promotion and distribution of essential WASH and nutrition supplies, set up of rapid response teams and capacity building for partners.
As Yemen is now entering the fourth year of conflict, the support of partners remains crucial to enable UNICEF to better protect the children and provide them with the necessary assistance to survive. Since 2015, the EU’s humanitarian contribution has reached over 33 million EUR to support UNICEF in its emergency response in Yemen, saving more children’s lives.